Fit and Healthy on the Road Omar Grant March 24, 2015 Human Body The cold, flu, coughs and sore throats are all equal opportunity infectors. Coming down with a nasty bug on your home turf can be a taxing event in itself, but for the traveling physician, it can be even worse. Nothing quite compares to a first impression with your new working environment for the next few months than coughing, sneezing and sniffling. As the role model for healthy lifestyles, healthcare professionals are held even more accountable to maintaining sound health. If you or someone you know is about to embark on a traveling assignment, follow some of the tips and tricks below to make sure you arrive and remain, in the best possible health. Research has shown that the propensity for an illness or bug can almost double while traveling. Traveling to a new location introduces your body to a host of new germs and organisms. The majority of these will have no effect on your body, but a select few can pose quite the challenge for an immune system that has had no previous experience with this strain for the flu or common cold. All About the H20 Never forget to factor in water when it comes down to traveling. Airports, packing, and those first few hours of navigation in an unfamiliar location can actually put quite the strain on your body. Heightened awareness and increased stress levels require additional fuel and water is the perfect solution. Water powers all of your body functions and a well hydrated body will have a better chance at combating those pesky germs. To further increase your chance at dodging a nasty bug bullet, avoid consuming large amounts of caffeine like soda or coffee on those first days in your new locale. As we all know, caffeine’s favorite pastime is to rob your body of its water stores. However, if you do find yourself in need of an extra boost on those first couple days of the job, make sure to supplement that cup of coffee with two equal parts of water. Research has shown that caffeine can actually pull out more water than what was consumed in the cup. On the Plane The quality of air circulation and filtering inside of a plane has actually come quite a long way since the nascent years of plane commuting. Before the improvements to filtration, airplanes could potentially be a breeding ground of all sorts of interesting germs and virus, just waiting to ruin your week. While quite a lot has been done since then, it is still a good idea to be a little mindful of any sick passengers that may be in your close proximity. As a general rule of thumb, you will only need to pay attention to the passengers who are both in front of you and behind you and of course, next to you. If you notice one of them to be exhibiting any signs of sickness, don’t hesitate to move. Flight attendants and stewardesses deal with these scenarios all of the time. The perceived inconvenience you may think you will be causing them in no way compares to the inconvenience you could cause your new employer upon your arrival. Wipe, Clean and Disinfect It may seem healthy 101, but cleaning seats, handles and faucets can greatly improve your odds at staying healthy and germ-free. Simply carrying around a small bottle of hand sanitizer can be a great resource in public areas with high amounts of traffic. It’s impossible to completely avoid contact with germs, but being a little more aware of situations where bugs could be present can really do wonders for avoiding a sickness later. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition When you find yourself in a new location it can be difficult to keep up with the same eating habits that you had back home. It becomes increasingly easier to simply stop at one of the plethora of fast food restaurants that populate an airport or city. While this may seem easy at the time, try to avoid these sorts of things as much as you can. Instead, plan ahead. Pack some extra nutritious foods for those times when you know finding a good place to eat might be a little more difficult. Pack a lunch or even a dinner for the first night if you don’t want the added stress of finding a grocery store. Good, nutritious food, much like water is a great defense you can take to combat illness and viruses. Staying Active Once you have settled in take a moment to spot out a local gym. Research has shown that moderate to intermediate amounts of exercise have had great results on boosting your body’s natural defenses against disease. 30 to 45 minutes of exercise four to five times a week is the perfect amount. Gyms are also great places to network and meet new people once you have arrived in a new location, so don’t miss out on its social aspects either!